Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide could threaten the future of winter sports in Canada, a climate change specialist with the David Suzuki Foundation warned yesterday.

Ian Bruce, author of On Thin Ice, said climate change could wreak havoc with the country’s $5-billion winter tourism industry, through a shortened snow season.

“If greenhouse gas emissions are not seriously cut, global warming stands to wipe out half of Canada’s ski season later this century,” Bruce said.

It could also reduce ice-skating on the Rideau Canal to a single week by the end of the century.

Justin Lamoureux, a member of the Canadian Snowboarding Team, has trained on Whistler’s Horstman Glacier in June and July for the past decade and said he’s seen the impact of climate change.

“A few summers ago, the spot where we load the main T-bar had to be moved uphill a few hundred feet as the glacier melted out from underneath.”

The report calls for a national climate change action strategy and for organizers of the 2010 Games to measure all carbon emissions and offset them with “gold standard” carbon offsets.